Frater Andrew Hughes currently serves as the Chapter Advisor for the Chi chapter at the University of Washington, but in his free time he climbs some of highest mountains across the world. He recently spent seven weeks in Argentina and Chile, and was able to summit Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the world outside the Himalayas, and Ojos Del Salado, the highest active volcano in the world.
Frater Andrew Hughes Summits The Highest Mountains Across The World
In just a few months, he'll embark on his next journey to the highest mountain in Iceland, the highest mountain in Russia and Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. He will attempt three more high points and two more of the seven summits, which would put him at four of the seven summits in only 13 months.
Despite his current extraordinary adventures, Andrew recalls a fairly common undergraduate experience in TKE. He was introduced to the Fraternity through his friends on campus.
"I didn't rush right away as a freshman, but I realized that all the people I was connecting with in my classes were Tekes. It was a brotherhood before I even joined. The chapter itself was and remains a strong chapter on campus. It's a really diverse group of people," Hughes said.
Graduating in 2005, he now spends his time as a TKE volunteer, also serving on the Board of Advisors for his home chapter, a position he's held for almost six years.
"It's one of the most rewarding things that I do on a daily basis. It's wonderful to be able to work with guys and help them realize their own goals, and it's also been rewarding to bring alumni back and connect them with the chapter," Hughes said.
Andrew grew up just outside of Seattle in Poulsbo, Washington, where he had constant views of Mount Rainer. Three years ago, he was able to climb more than 14,000 feet atop the peak and immediately fell in love with the challenge of conquering a mountain.
"I love everything that leads up to the mountain, especially the community that you get to be a part of. Mount Rainer was definitely the peak that made me buy all in," Hughes recalled.
Currently living in Seattle, he's reminded of that journey when the weather allows.
"Every clear day in Seattle, I get to look over and see where I stood up on top of Washington state. It's something that reminds me that I'm capable of doing far more," Hughes said.
Similar to his experiences in TKE, no summit that he reaches can be achieved alone. It takes a group of people to help and support him.
"I'll get messages on my satellite receiver while I'm climbing. You get that support and love that goes beyond your TKE house, that reaches you on the side of the highest mountains in the world. It's something that's rare and unique," Hughes said.
He spends months training for these adventures, and with his busy schedule of climbing mountains, they all build upon each other. He had to take various courses in rescue and high altitude living.
Additionally, he spends at least two hours every day engaged in different types of training to better prepare his body. His workout regimen is a combination of weight training, cardio and yoga.
Nutrition is also an important factor when climbing a mountain. Because of the high altitude, your resources are extremely limited.
"All the conveniences are stripped away. But, at a high altitude, you need to be eating and drinking more. You still on average lose between 5 to 15 pounds on a mountain climb just because of the way your body gets used up at that altitude," Hughes said.
For his 2018 climbing schedule, he hopes to travel to Antarctica to climb the highest mountain and volcano there.
"I've always been drawn to nature and the natural world. When I disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature and the mountains; it helps me to put things into perspective. I've never been pushed harder physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally than when I've been mountain climbing," Hughes remarked.
Since last year, his ultimate goal is completing the "Seven and Seven," where he aspires to climb the highest mountain and volcanic summits on every continent. If everything works out by the end of this summer, he'll already have completed eight of them.
You can follow his adventures on Instagram @Andrew_I_Hughes.
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